Commenting on the release of the Scottish Government’s announcements on further easing of lockdown restrictions, Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce said:

“The updated routemap and additional steps announced today for further easing lockdown restrictions in Scotland do move us forward, but they are likely to have a mixed reception in our business community.

“As a Chamber network, we’ve called consistently for indicative dates to help guide businesses through this period and to support plans to rebuild consumer confidence and demand as we face a gradual and challenging recovery. With this in mind, the phased timeline and actions announced today provides some reassurance for key sectors of our regional economy, including manufacturing and some elements of retail as they look to restart. However, we’ve already heard from businesses in hospitality concerned about the lack of an opening date for outdoor spaces such as beer gardens, something many firms were counting on having a fixed timeline for today.

“Many businesses will also be waiting with bated breath for the review announced on the two metre rule for physical distancing. Clarity on whether this can be safely reduced is absolutely vital, and indeed existential for many businesses and their workers here in the North-east. This won’t just impact on those firms individually, but on the steps that towns and cities are taking to reopen their public spaces.

“Finally, there still remain some fairly significant unanswered questions about the practical interdependencies which need to be resolved to truly get the economy moving again. Without a more fully formed timeline for a return to higher levels of capacity in schooling and childcare, many workers and businesses are going to struggle to return to the workplace and get our economy moving again.

“Businesses across our dynamic city region want to safely get the economy back into gear, so we can protect the livelihoods and prosperity that we’ve worked so hard to build. We welcome the guidance today, but some major question marks still remain, and we urge government to move at pace, in partnership with the private sector, to deliver those answers.”

The Scottish Government announcement can be read in full here